Milan Fashion Week AW16: day 1
ELLE's Ed-in-Chief fell in love with Alessandro Michele's charming, gender fluid collection for the season
Since rising from relative anonymity to assume the creative director role a year ago, Alessandro Michele has put the spring back in the 95-year-old house's step. Even more remarkably, he has created an aesthetic that is unmistakably his own.
The collection we saw yesterday took us further down the same road Michele so dramatically turned onto a year ago, one signposted by flounces and ruffles, animal motifs, a rainbow of colours and oodles of embellishment. It's an aesthetic that's been called everything from geek luxe to grandma chic, but really today's Gucci is bohemian and romantic, and designed to be worn by gender fluid, bespectacled beauties with great vinyl collections.
So yesterday Michele gave his mad-cap Gucci girls (who stand out a mile at the show amid the sea of black) more – much more – of what they love. It was a huge show, some 70 looks, each one piled high with accoutrements and accessories.
The spectacle began with a dramatic sound and light show, viewed through a black screen, as were the models that followed. (The effect was mesmerising, the photos for Instagram, not so much!)
Last season's sparkly spectacles and sequinned tigers were back in force, as were the tiered gowns, dreamy colour pairings and lust-have bags. But this season Michele took us further into his world of musicians and artists by teaming up with Brooklyn-based artist Trevor Andrew (@troubleandrew), a man so obsessed with Gucci iconography that he has built a career on the GG logo.
Michele incorporated the GG logo on several pieces, most notably "spray painted" on a plush red gangsta-worthy coat (pictured above). "I took the most interesting things of @troubleandrews's" Michele wrote on Instagram, "and I asked if I could re-customise them… I customised his work and he says I'm like a doctor who treats them, makes them better. He puts in his culture, I have mine. The two things together are good. Diversity always produces something interesting."
From a relative simple opening (pictured on the left) – a white leather coat with dramatic shoulders, worn with red tights, we ventured into Barbie-tastic territory. Look two (right) gave new meaning to the term 'full look' with its head-to-toe Pepto Bismol pink, from the neck scarf to the plush coat, to the leather gloves, quilted GG Marmont bag, stockings and metallic shoes.
The rose-printed silk gown worn with a black pearl mesh handpiece was a highlight, as was the turquoise cape with trompe l'oeil neck tie, and the pink satin dress with the band-approved logo of AC/DC emblazoned in silver sequins on the back (disclaimer: I'm Australian). There were also less expected pieces, like a gothic black ruffled gown and an oversized coat, and black suits that were cool but felt out of context.
Because on the whole this collection was full of the kind of pieces little girls dream of owning when they grow up. Pink gloves with pearls on the knuckles. Coloured tights. Metallic heels. Pillbox hats complete with face veils. It's the stuff of dressing-up box dreams – but as every grown woman knows, that childhood ideal never really leaves us. I think that's part of the reason so many women love the new Gucci – it taps into that wonder we had when we first discovered that clothes could be more than just insulation.
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Related: Gucci AW16